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European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet)

Copernicus Marine Service

The Copernicus Marine Service  (, led by EC DG DEFIS and implemented by Mercator Ocean International, provides the European Union with a world-leading capacity for monitoring the ocean worldwide, through satellites, targeted in situ observations, and numerical models. In situ observations, which play a key role in constraining global and regional ocean analysis and forecasting systems, are collected, quality-controlled and delivered by a dedicated service-unit called the Copernicus Marine In Situ Thematic Assembly Centre (In Situ TAC). The In Situ TAC is based on a distributed model of production, and developed in coherence with other components of the pan European data management landscape. Today more than 350 data-providers are contributing to a targeted core set of parameters (temperature, salinity, currents, sea level, waves, chlorophyll-a, oxygen, nutrients, and carbon) delivered in near-real time and in delayed mode, and directly useable for initialization, forcing, assimilation and validation of ocean numerical models. 

Following a high-level agreement between DG DEFIS and DG MARE and the signature of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2016, the two services have ensured a complementarity of their offers that are developed and evolve in close interaction and synergies. The Copernicus Marine Service and EMODnet have jointly set up a Marine In Situ Coordination Inter-service Working Group in 2021 bringing in experts from EMODnet, Copernicus Marine Service and the EuroGOOS operational oceanography networks. The aim of the group is to further optimise data flows, coordination, and synergies of in situ marine data required by both services.

The main area of collaboration for in situ data provision are the operational oceanographic platforms (e.g., from the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and EuroGOOS) and research infrastructures. EMODnet works with Copernicus Marine Service to publish such operational oceanographic data and to integrate these data into EMODnet’s wider portfolio of in situ marine data that are derived from diverse sources including: research-driven time-series of data (e.g., from research cruises/campaigns), the private sector, civil society (e.g., non-governmental organisations and citizen science), and increasingly data collected by public authorities (e.g., for regulatory monitoring).

Several interfaces have been set up to take advantage of synergies and to optimize and improve the two services. Illustrating this point, a subset of EMODnet Physics - a core set of highly qualified parameters - is provided by the Copernicus Marine In Situ Thematic Assembly Centre. This remains a specific component of EMODnet Physics, with EMODnet coordinating other in situ physical marine, coastal and land-sea interface data (e.g., on rivers, wind, underwater noise and other parameters). On the other side, some EMODnet thematics provide in situ data to the Copernicus Marine Service, e.g., EMODnet Chemistry provides in situ biogeochemical data required for the validation of Copernicus Marine biogeochemical models. And in turn, some EMODnet thematics utilise Copernicus Marine Service outputs to further constrain and reduce uncertainty in EMODnet integrated data products e.g., the EMODnet Seabed Habitats EUSeaMap.

Over the coming years, the Copernicus Marine Service and EMODnet will continue their collaboration to optimize data flows required by both services. They are also working together to provide the backbone data infrastructure and the core data streams into a common data lake underpinning the European Digital Twin Ocean (DTO).

The two services (EMODnet and Copernicus Marine In Situ TAC) are data aggregator services. They depend on upstream global, pan European and coastal in situ observing networks (GOOS, EuroGOOS, European Marine Research Infrastructures), amongst others, and associated data assembly and processing infrastructures (National Oceanographic Data Centres, SeaDataNet). These upstream observation infrastructures need to be consolidated and sustained at the European level as part of the EOOS (European Ocean Observing System) initiative.

A joint communication by EMODnet and Copernicus Marine Service on the EU in situ marine data landscape has been co-developed by the two EC marine data services.

In 2016, EMODnet and CMEMS signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to closely collaborate about their respective marine data activities, and to ensure complementarity of the two data service offers. Since then, EMODnet collaborate with the Copernicus Marine Service in situ thematic data assembly centre to share in situ Physics data, with combined datasets provided by EuroGOOS and SeaDataNet. EMODnet and CMEMS also cooperate to share Chemistry and some Biology data.

Further MoUs are in place since 2019 also for specific thematic areas, including between CMEMS and EMODnet Chemistry. This has resulted in a close cooperation where EMODnet Chemistry contributes in situ oxygen, chlorophyll-a, and nutrients aggregated, validated and harmonized data to CMEMS INSTAC. In turn, CMEMS INSTAC encourages additional data providers to include their in situ datasets in EMODnet Chemistry.

In 2021, CMEMS and EMODnet collaborate on a further number of joint activities, including:

  • Joint Use Cases (see examples of Land-Marine Boundary here and Ocean Observation here)
  • Joint catalogue of marine data and data products relevant for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive
  • Providing open access data from EMODnet and CMEMS to the European Atlas of the Seas  e.g. Sea Surface Temperature
  • Collaboration for joint workshops and events e.g. Open Sea Lab II, Marine Data for Aquaculture (North Atlantic Ocean, and Mediterranean and Black Seas – report to come)

The joint EMODnet and Copernicus Marine Service in-situ Data Ingestion Process aims at collecting and ingesting the private sector marine in situ data and redistributing it through their respective EMODnet and Copernicus Marine Service portals for the benefit of all marine user communities, including the private sector. In return, the private sector benefits from the EMODnet and Copernicus Marine Service data management added value services among which:

  • More visibility: Data discovery and data access services
  • Real time quality control
  • Data formatting: NetCDF OceanSITES
  • Data dissemination to individual users, operational oceanography community such as GTS or Copernicus

Read more on the CMEMS website here.